Warm water prompts fishing closures

The unusually warm conditions this summer have prompted fishing restrictions

The unusually hot and dry weather this summer prompted the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources to issue an announcement of fishing closures on July 3, with closures taking effect on July 4.

A news release from the Ministry announced a level 4 drought rating for Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands as well a suspension of fishing in certain streams and rivers. The restrictions are due to consistently low stream flow and rising water temperatures.

The intention of the closures is to protect fish stocks from further vulnerability as they experience warm water and low flows.

The area affected by the closures covers Bamfield south to Victoria on the west coast and  Campell River south to Victoria on the east coast, and rivers affected include the Caycuse, Chemainus, Cowichan, Englishman, Gordon, Little Qualicum, Nanaimo, Nitinat, Oyster, Puntledge, San Juan, Sooke, Trent and Tsable. The Qualicum-or the Big Qualicum-and the Quinsam rivers are the only ones in the area in question not closed as they have enough water to protect fish.

The current closures are for southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands at the moment, but biologists are keeping a close watch on 75 additional waterways province-wide, and more closures could occur.